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Sebastian Korda won his first round (6/4 7/6) of the Citi Open against Ilya Ivashka.

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Currently 54th in the world, the American hadn’t won a match for more than a month. After a loss against John Millman (3/6 6/7) at the ATP 250 of Eastbourne on the 20th of June, Sebastian Korda retired from Wimbledon due to “shin splints” and “beaten up foot”. Finally rested, the 22 years old tennis player took part of the Atlanta Open last week – but lost the first round to Tao Daniel (6/1 1/6 6/7).

This first match at the Citi Open was played on Tuesday, the 2nd of August, under the heat of Washington DC. Despite an almost empty stadium, the encounter was worthy of interest. It began with long rallies from the baseline, mostly dominated by Ilya Ivahska who forced Sebastian Korda to defend. The Byelorussian had the advantage and broke early in the first set. However, the American managed to break back to reach 3/3. Korda won this first set by showing more initiative et by playing more aggressively: 14 winners and only 3 for Ivashka.

The second set was very tight from the beginning to the end. Each player had opportunities to break – but neither of them managed to do it. Throughout the games, Sebastian Korda found back his entertaining game style with explosive returns, balls hit early inside the court and numerous runs to the net. In order to have a chance in this match, Ilya Ivashka tried to come forward more often – but his numerous unforced errors jeopardized him. The outcome of this encounter was decided by a tight tiebreak that eventually went in favor of Sebastian Korda.

For his next match the young American will play against Sebastian Baez who is currently 31 in the ATP rankings. This encounter of promising talents, who both participated to the Next Gen ATP finals in 2021, should be fun to watch. If Sebastien Korda wants a chance to win, he should play as aggressive as he can and he should use his sliced backhand to change the rhythm of the rallies. Repeatedly finding himself in a defensive position could be the end for him, as the Argentinian can be very offensive behind his baseline.

Marnie Abbou

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